Thursday, March 13, 2008

It's the right brain

Here's a standard bit of Buddhist writing from Tricycle.
The Dharma of the Buddha is not found in books. If you want to really see for yourself what the Buddha was talking about you don't need to bother with books. Watch your own mind. Examine to see how feelings come and go, how thoughts come and go. Don't be attached to anything, just be mindful of whatever there is to see. This is the way to the truths of the Buddha. Be natural. Everything you do in your life is a chance to practice. It is all Dharma. When you do your chores try to be mindful. If you are emptying a spittoon or cleaning a toilet don't feel you are doing it as a favor for anyone else. There is Dharma in emptying spittoons. Don't feel you are practicing only when sitting still cross-legged. Some of you have complained that there is not enough time to meditate. Is there enough time to breathe? This is your meditation: mindfulness, naturalness in whatever you do.
I note this because I just saw an amazing video from this year's TED.
Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor had an opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: One morning, she realized she was having a massive stroke. As it happened — as she felt her brain functions slip away one by one, speech, movement, understanding — she studied and remembered every moment. This is a powerful story about how our brains define us and connect us to the world and to one another.
(She even shows an actual human brain.)
Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor is a Harvard-trained and published neuroanatomist who teaches at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Bloomington, Indiana.
The formal content of her presentation is essentially that the right brain is the site of Buddhist enlightment — although she doesn't say so directly. Emotionally, her telling the story of her stroke and her moment-by-moment memory of it—she really watched her mind!—is quite powerful and remarkable. It's less than 19 minutes. I recommend it to everyone.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Russ, can you achieve something like he describes meditating (I asume you meditate)?